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Press Release

Billings man who sold 11 stolen firearms to undercover agent sentenced to prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

BILLINGS — A Billings man who admitted selling 11 firearms he stole from a residence to an undercover agent was sentenced today to 37 months in prison and to three years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.

Rodrigo Gomez, 20, pleaded guilty on Sept. 9, 2020 to possession of stolen firearms.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters also ordered $26,470 restitution to be paid jointly and severally with a co-defendant. Gomez was detained.

The prosecution said in court documents that an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives met with Gomez and a co-defendant, Maliyah Jae Chavez, on Feb. 24, 2020 to buy 11 stolen firearms. The defendants told the agent the firearms were stolen from a residence. The guns were in a safe inside of a garage. The agent paid the defendants for the stolen firearms, which the ATF confirmed had been reported as stolen on Feb. 21, 2020. Gomez admitted to stealing the firearms and selling them.

Chavez pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Godfrey prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the ATF.

This case is part of Project Guardian, a Department of Justice initiative launched in the fall of 2019 to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Through Project Guardian, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Montana is working to enhance coordination of its federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. In addition, Project Guardian supports information sharing and taking action when individuals are denied a firearm purchase by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for mental health reasons or because they are a prohibited person.



Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer

Updated February 4, 2021

Project Guardian